02/03/17 6:00am
02/03/2017 6:00 AM

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Whenever Kyle Verity rides to work on his bike along Main Road in Mattituck, he waves at passing drivers. And most of the time, the motorists — who can easily identify the 25-year-old thanks to his neon orange safety vest — wave back.

“He should be the Queen of England, the way he rides and waves at everybody,” his mother, Patti, said during an interview last week. READ

03/10/15 8:00am
03/10/2015 8:00 AM
Culinary instructor Eric Rickmers talk to the new students in the commercial kitchen Monday afternoon. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Culinary instructor Eric Rickmers talks to the new students in the Riverhead school’s commercial kitchen Monday afternoon. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Monday marked the first day in a new Riverhead school for a small group of teens living in a country still very new to them.

At the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Alternative High School English Language Learner Program, teenagers referred to as SIFE students — or students with interrupted formal education — will learn English and math and acquire job skills such as culinary arts and maintenance work, BOCES officials said. (more…)

11/29/14 2:30pm
Superintendent David Gamberg speaking about standardized test scores in 2011.

Superintendent David Gamberg at a Southold school board meeting in 2011. (Credit: file)

Some courses offered at up-island BOCES campuses could be coming to the North Fork.

David Gamberg, superintendent of the Southold and Greenport school districts, says he’s had preliminary discussions with officials at Eastern Long Island Hospital and Peconic Landing to develop a local nursing assistant program.

In addition to the planned student communications center in Southold, which nearby school districts would share, Mr. Gamberg said he’s exploring the feasibility of creating other courses to help students become college- or career-ready upon graduating from high school.

A nursing assistant program for students could be established by the 2016-17 school year, he estimates. (more…)

11/28/14 2:00pm
11/28/2014 2:00 PM
Southold High School student Kimiko Fujita records a student newscast Monday at the school. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Southold High School student Kimiko Fujita records a student newscast Monday at the school. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

There’s a section of Southold High School’s tech shop that’s starting to look a lot like a communications center — complete with a television studio and radio station.

A news anchor’s desk and green screen were recently added.

Over in the next room is an open space slated to become a control room where newscasts, documentaries and public service announcements would be edited. But that equipment will cost money, and the students don’t want to wait for the district to secure funding to finish furnishing the proposed communications center. So they’ve partnered with the Southold School Educational Foundation, a nonprofit group that acts like a booster club to provide enhanced learning opportunities in the district, and launched a “SOHO TV, Film and All Things Media” campaign this month to raise money to purchase standard equipment used in broadcasting, like Apple computers with Final Cut software, a teleprompter and microphones. (more…)

05/23/13 6:00am
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riley Avenue School in Calverton.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riley Avenue School in Calverton.

To the Editor:

With graduation approaching, I cannot forget the dedication, inspiration and guidance of specific teachers and programs that tremendously benefited our son, Carlos.

While I have often railed against the unsustainability of the benefits and retirement packages at the expense of the beleaguered taxpayer, as well as the general edge that government workers have over those in the private sector these days, the aviation program provided by BOCES through the Southold School District and specific mentors set the stage for a truly exciting and richly rewarding career start for Carlos.

With over 2,000 flight hours already logged and positions from Guam to Ottawa, including flight instruction, first captain and advanced training of other pilots, he has been able to follow his dream.

An early mentor, Mrs. Madigan at the Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton channeled some of his apparent attention deficit issues in kindergarten into model rocket building and launching, which captivated him. Later on, after he made the cut into the aviation program, Mr. Dzenkowski was a role model and mentor.

Because of his and others’ dedication, and Carlos’ interest and aptitude for aviation, Carlos earned his private pilot’s license before graduating and was the keynote speaker at the aviation graduation ceremony. All this helped turn a youth who was not particularly thrilled with traditional academics into a good college student with an ongoing passion for aviation and a dedicated purpose in life.

This is all more than I could ever have foreseen during some of the more trying times early on. So, yes, for some graduates who may not have developed a clear idea of what kind of career they would like, or even what their skills and aptitudes are, I would always recommend looking into government work. But for other, such as our son, who have abiding passions, I recommend first following up on what they’re passionate about.

I’m sure they also have had mentors that they and their families will remember for years to come.

Thanks to the schools and teachers who made it possible for Carlos to embark on a rewarding career. At least for now.

Harry Katz, SOUTHOLD

To read more letters to the editor, pick of copy of this week’s News-Review on newsstands or click on the E-Paper.

02/23/13 2:18pm
02/23/2013 2:18 PM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Elected officials met with education advocates Saturday in Middle Island.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Elected officials met with education advocates Saturday in Middle Island.

Local elected officials told a group of Long Island educators Saturday that they believe the majority of education cuts in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state budget will be restored.

Educators attending the annual Longwood Regional Legislative Breakfast — including superintendents from the Shoreham-Wading River, Riverhead, Mattituck-Cutchouge and Southold school districts — urged their elected representatives to help ensure Long Island doesn’t bear the brunt of the governor’s proposed cuts in his $146.6 billion budget.

While districts across New York would see an average state aid increase of 3 percent next school year, each of the districts in Southold Town is slated to lose money. In all, 23 Suffolk County districts would lose aid under the governor’s proposal. Fifteen of those school systems are on the East End.

Gary Bixhorn, chief operating officer of Eastern Suffolk BOCES, which cosponsored the event at Longwood Middle School, suggested in his presentation that school administrators focus their rally on having a $65 million reduction in high cost aid restored, which is a budget line item that has been used to provide additional aid to districts that rely more heavily on property taxes to balance their budgets. He also said attention should be focused on restoring funding from the Gap Elimination Adjustment, another factor in the state aid formula. It should be split more equitably, Mr. Bixhorn said, because while schools across the state are only losing 9 percent of this portion of aid, Long Island schools will receive 12 percent less.

“We’re losing more and getting less back,” he said. “That is, basically, a double whammy.”

Local Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) said after the meeting that he’s confident high tax aid and the gap elimination adjustment will be restored.

“We in the Legislature are going to do it,” he said. “It’s a priority … I think those two things will be restored in a way that’s beneficial to Long Island school districts.”

In Southold, where the school district would lose $190,000, high tax aid would drop by more than $200,000. While other aid lines would increase, the high tax support would drop dramatically.  Southold would receive just under $1.4 million in total state aid next school year.

Southold Superintendent David Gamberg said after the meeting that he believes the annual gathering of school officials and politicians plays an important role in making sure local districts get their fair share of support from the state.

“We come here each year with the hope that the voices of many districts are going to provide the ammunition our local legislators need to fight for us,” Mr. Gamberg said.

Riverhead is the only East End town where district aid would increase. Both the Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River school districts would receive increases of more than 5.5 percent next school year.

During the meeting, Superintendent Steven Cohen asked the panel if they would support legislation to exclude school security costs from the tax cap, as well as provide support for the newly mandated annual professional performance review plan, known as APPR.

“Our district will have to hire two new clerical positions to deal with the reporting process and that will be a permanent cost to the district,” he said.

Mr. LaValle said a provision was added in last year’s state budget to reimburse school districts for expenses related to APPR, but couldn’t immediately give a dollar amount.

No North Fork district was hit harder in the Governor’s budget than Oysterponds, which would see a 20 percent drop if the budget were approved in its current state, down to $245,000 from just over $300,000 this school year. Greenport’s state aid would remain nearly flat under the governor’s proposal, falling by just $10,000 to $1.12 million for the next school year. Administrators from both districts did not attend Saturday’s meeting.

Longwood officials said Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) couldn’t attend due to a scheduling conflict. The original date of the breakfast was changed from Feb. 9 due to the blizzard that fell that weekend.

The state Legislature is expected to approve its budget by April 1.

[email protected]

01/22/13 11:17am
01/22/2013 11:17 AM
ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO |

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | State Senator Ken LaValle has proposed creating a regional high school that focuses on STEM curriculum.

State Senator Ken LaValle has proposed legislation to create a new regional high school that will focus on the science, technology, engineering and math program known as STEM.

According to a press release issued by Mr. LaValle’s office Tuesday, the Suffolk School of Math, Science & Engineering Regional Technology Institute will provide STEM instruction to students in grades 9th through 12th at both Eastern and Western Suffolk BOCES facilities.

Mr. LaValle said in statement that the goal of the new school is to “expand learning opportunities for students and foster the development and advancement of emerging technologies.”

“I want to encourage students to pursue careers in math and science by introducing them to these subject areas in ways they may not otherwise be exposed to,” Mr. LaValle said. “I believe science, technology, engineering and math are the foundation for future economic growth and job creation.”

The senator first proposed the legislation Jan. 9. The Higher Education Committee, which Mr. LaValle is the chairman, is currently reviewing the bill.

[email protected]